“What a Coincidence!”

The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines a coincidence as “the occurrence of events that happen at the same time by accident but seem to have some connection.” Another definition that I find even more useful comes from Deepak Chopra in his book The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire: Harnessing the Infinite Power of Coincidence where he explains that a coincidence is God trying to get our attention. Isn’t this idea that God actually takes the time to chat with us simply spectacular? My son recently had one of these conversations with God. No, he didn’t receive guidance on how to create world peace, but still…


So, my son, Dean Jr., returned home from college a few months ago. He’s at that early twenty-something stage when everyone expects that you should have your life together and be zooming ahead in a straight line towards professional success. But like his mother when she was that age, he’s still figuring out precisely what to do with himself.


He could go to grad school, but isn’t in the mood at the moment. When I mention the GRE and possible graduate programs (which I have mentioned many, many, many times) he looks like I suggested that he should eat a poisonous caterpillar for lunch, so I’ve stopped (I think). He’s considering changing his career focus from film, radio, and television production to the visual arts, but isn’t sure. And though we love and support any career choice he makes, I’m haunted by visions of him still living at home at 58 while trying to market his first animation project  (a fear I’m very ashamed to admit given that I’m a creative soul myself).


From time to time he’s mentioned starting a business with his friend Mitch—I think he said something about video production services—but alas, about this he doesn’t seem quite sure either. So to solve his dilemma he’s gotten a job at Starbucks, where he spends his days serving lattes while he contemplates his future.


When he lived at home (oh, but he lives at home now)—when he was kid and lived at home, we had him enrolled in all kinds of stuff, including Taekwondo. He did it for several years and eventually earned his black belt. He was good: broke boards and all that super hero business. So recently he and his friend Mitch (the one with whom he hasn’t started a business—but might) decided to begin doing Mixed Martial Arts. They considered taking classes but could not find a school that was affordable, so they were going to begin by practicing at home. Dean Jr. planned to order the equipment they needed online, but he says that out of nowhere he had the thought that he should go to an actual store (what a novel idea). He did, and had the sense that the guy at the counter seemed familiar. The guy at the counter thought my son seemed familiar too and that maybe they went to high school together. Turns out they didn’t.


During my son’s next visit to this martial arts supply store, he thought that the familiar guy perhaps used to teach at his Taekwondo school way back when, but he decided not to bother mentioning this as he could be wrong and the young man may think he’s crazy. But last minute he decided to ask him, and lo and behold the young fellow did teach at Dean Jr.’s old school. They chatted for a little then this guy told my son that one of his past teachers just opened a school nearby. My son went to visit this school and saw his teacher who’d been in business for all of two weeks. The rates were affordable, plus he gave my son a free two-week pass to attend classes! On top of this the teacher mentioned that just a couple weeks ago he was chatting to his wife about our family and wondering how we were doing. So there you have it: voila, Dean Jr. is about to begin his second life as a martial arts champ and he got a little help finding a school.


In the scheme of things I’m sure this is not the most dazzling coincidence you’ve heard about, but I still find it fascinating how things muddled together for my son, and my guess is that he’s been led to the precise place where he should begin stage two of his martial arts journey. I’m also reminded that when our own mini-miracles occur, we have to take some time out to think about why the Universe might want to grab us by the shoulders and give us a shake at that particular moment and how we can use the nudge we’ve gotten to make the best decisions for ourselves.